Whelan issues invite to MP Nandy

Wigan Athletic's new manager Malky Mackay and Chairman Dave Whelan. Below: MP Lisa Nandy
Wigan Athletic's new manager Malky Mackay and Chairman Dave Whelan. Below: MP Lisa Nandy

WIGAN MP Lisa Nandy has offered an olive branch to Malky Mackay after she questioned the wisdom of his appointment - and has been invited to watch the Latics and have a meal with club chairman Dave Whelan.

Miss Nandy sought to draw a line under the simmering row as the Scot takes the helm at the DW Stadium.

MP Lisa Nandy

MP Lisa Nandy

Earlier in the week, she called on Latics’ chairman Dave Whelan to consider carefully whether he was the right man for the hot seat at Latics, given the ongoing probe by FA chiefs into alleged racist, homophobic and sexist texts he sent while at his previous club, Cardiff.

Ms Nandy said she had spoken out after being contacted by a number of fans - including season ticket holders - alarmed that the bookies had made Mackay the hot favourite for the job.

But immediately after the appointment was confirmed by the club, Ms Nandy said that she was pleased Latics had considered her concerns on behalf of supporters – and is now looking forward to cheering them on to greater success.

She said: “I wrote to the club last week asking them to take fans’ concerns into account and ensure any appointment was consistent with Wigan Athletic’s values.

“They have assured me that they have done so and I hope this marks the start of a successful next chapter for the club.”

Her comments, however, failed to impress Mr Whelan.

When asked about the spat, Mr Whelan said the Labour MP “doesn’t understand football”.

“I have invited our MP, the lady, I have invited her to any football match she wishes to come to,” he said.

“Come and watch the match, enjoy it, dine with us afterwards. Whether she’ll take it up or not, I don’t know. I hope she will and if she will I’ll introduce her to Malky.

“I think it’s so important that somebody like the MP - she’s not a Wigan girl by the way, she was imported into Wigan from another area, she’s not a Wigan lass, so she doesn’t understand football.

“But we can try and give her some help, she is invited, she is a friend. I’ve only met her once in my life and I’m looking forward to saying hello to her again and I’m sure Malky would say hello to her.

“All her comments I’ve taken on board and I respect them but I have to make the decisions which I think are the best interest of Wigan Athletic and our town of Wigan. That is exactly what I’ve done in appointing Malky.”

However, the anti-racist charity, Kick It Out, questioned Mackay’s appointment.

“The Football Association are investigating in August alleged racist, anti-Semitic, sexist and homophobic comments made by Malky Mackay and Iain Moody,” said a spokesman.

“We are still waiting yet to hear whether this is near to reaching a conclusion almost three months on, where does the case now lie and how close we are to seeing if the FA take the appropriate action,” a spokesman said.

“Wigan Athletic have disregarded the ongoing investigation being undertaken by the FA and any punishment Mackay may face by taking the decision to appoint him.”

“We need to see leadership and a respect for the processes in place shown by football club owners to demonstrate how seriously they tackle issues of exclusion and of prejudice and of discrimination.

“It remains to be seen if Wigan’s position and all of football’s so-called family are happy with. The FA needs to now move swiftly to let everybody know whether they agree with Wigan’s position or whether they will reinforce their own zero tolerance stance on all such matters of equality and diversity.”

“We await the FA’s response before commenting further.”